Gentrification. For so long it’s been the elephant in the room. Everyone in the city sees it happening. They watch as neighborhoods transition from bodegas to trendy coffee shops. They see once dilapidated, crumbling buildings torn down or refurbished to become apartment complexes, their flaws marketed as “charm” and “urban chic.” They watch their old neighbors leave, replaced by younger, trendier twenty-somethings. They feel it inflating their property values, but also in their bank accounts as rent rises and it becomes more expensive to live in this city. It’s the taboo topic, the thing that people might talk about in hushed tones in private, secure social circles, but never in a public venue lest the inquirer be derided as “racist” or “troublemaker” for questioning her complicity in the movement. But playwright and performer Cara Gabriel does just that.
Presented as a part of the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival, Gabriel’s I Am the Gentry is a witty, unabashedly honest solo performance that traces one woman’s life as she realizes her role in the gentrification of the H Street neighborhood of NE Washington, DC. The play hilariously and provocatively deconstructs notions of racial and socio-economic stereotypes and redefines the nature of community in a transitional neighborhood. It’s an edgy new piece that breaks the silence on an issue of concern for everyone in this city.
I Am the Gentry premieres on March 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm in Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lab 1. The performance is one-hour, and will follow with a candid post-show discussion about the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the inevitable gentrification of Washington, DC. Purchase your tickets online.